God and the Law of Causality

By Bryan, on September 16th, 2010

One of the most foundational laws in the universe is the law of causality. However, as well known and common sensical as this law seems to be, some have still managed to misunderstand it and have hence been led astray into faulty thinking with regards to its application. This can be specifically shown with regards to the concept of God, one of the most foundational concepts in which this misunderstanding has been applied.

Now, before we begin, it must be granted at the outset that this misunderstanding is by no means a trait for the ignorant and uneducated, and is in fact not uncommon amongst what some may deem as even the most intellectual of people. One particular example can be found in the thought of Bertrand Russell (1872–1970), the eminent British philosopher of the 20th century. Russel himself once claimed that if everything needed a cause, then so would God. And that if everything did not need a cause, then neither would the universe. In conclusion, Russell argued that there really is no need for God. If he existed and needed a cause then he really wouldn’t be God (after all, what kind of a God would be dependent on some external factor for His own existence). A God like that would be no God at all. Now, if Russell’s argument is correct, then it would seem as if there really is no need for God. The universe could just exist as a brute fact without any need for a cause, as many atheists and agnostics have believed in the past. But is this sort of reasoning valid? Does the law of causality really demand that God needs a cause? Well, although this seems to be a deceptively powerful objection to the existence of God on the surface, a brief understanding of what the law of causality actually means will help clear up any misunderstanding in this claim, thus giving a resounding “NO” in response to the question.


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